Introduction to bespoke software: What is it, anyway?

Bespoke software - almost sounds epic, doesn’t it?

It sounds like the solution that big companies need. Something that your large competitors are spending tons of money on, just because they can.

That’s the perception we notice a lot of our potential customers share. Whatever issues you have, you probably don’t think that you need to invest in bespoke software - not yet, at least.

But the truth is that bespoke, or custom, software solutions are much more common than you might think. That’s what our goal at The Beaverhead is - to make high-end enterprise software accessible for small businesses, the businesses that could benefit from it the most.

So, what is bespoke software?

Bespoke or custom software is any application or programme that is imagined, designed, built and maintained for a very specific set of needs, group of users, and functions.

A tailor-made piece of software is much like a tailor-made suit; you could just buy a suit, of course, and you can buy it as close to your size as possible, but in the end - it’s what the designer imagined for you. Maybe you’d like your suit to be a little wider at the top to accommodate your broad shoulders, or maybe you need a special pocket to keep something confidential. To get that, you go to someone to make the suit just for you. \

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Chances are, your business is unique in its own way. Maybe your processes are a little different, maybe you have a special outlook on task management, or your projects are particularly complicated. If you are just moving along and your business is just getting on, you could be doing better. But it would be very difficult to find software that exists already, at a cheap price, to meet your exact needs. That’s when you would reach for custom software.

Your starting point could be an existing tool - for example, you love FileMaker, but it doesn’t work with the rest of your tools. Or Trello works well for you, except it doesn’t help you with your invoicing. From there, the software developer can run with your brief.

At The Beaverhead, we like to take this time to help you really build up the value of your new solution. What else can we put in that will make it really special? What other challenges can we tackle, maybe even ones you didn’t realise could be solved so easily?

Why is bespoke software important?

In the end, the result is a solution that is made exactly for you. Each user’s needs are met, your business goals are addressed, and your team’s efforts are supported. The software works naturally with your processes, repetitive tasks are eliminated, errors are minimised. You are saving time and money, but also nerves and anxiety. You can breathe more easily knowing that your software works with you. It is also a scalable solution that you have full control over - you can grow it with your business and not worry about hitting a new subscription tier and having to pay higher fees.

Bespoke software in the real world

It’s all well and good talking about custom software like a vague concept. But how does it work in the real world?

Our most recent such client is Big Lazy Panda - a visual effects company that was struggling with project management. They were using three separate tools, which weren’t integrated, to manage their tasks and projects. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t working. Their work was repetitive and unsecured. Off-the-shelf solutions didn’t address their challenges, or were too expensive to not be perfect. They realised the only way to handle their issues was through bespoke software.

We at The Beaverhead built a progressive web app for them that pulled together all functionality they needed, as well as a few extra features. You can read more about it in our case study here.

Introduction to bespoke software: The series

In our Introduction to bespoke software blog series, we will continue to help you understand the world and industry of custom software, and how you can benefit from it. In our blog in two weeks we will talk about the benefits of custom software vs off-the-shelf, and later we’ll try to help you understand when it’s time for your business to take the leap to bespoke solutions.

Do you have any questions about custom software? Let us know and we will address them in our future blogs.

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